The Italian language has a very unique style and sound. And there’s no doubt that Italians have their own sense of humor. Just like in English, Italians have a number of expressions and idioms they use when speaking.
In addition to mastering essential vocabulary words, it’s important that you learn these commonly-used expressions. After all, you don’t want to misinterpret what someone is saying to you. Below are 10 funny Italian phrases that are truly unique to the Italian language and culture!
1. Hai voluto la bicicletta? E adesso pedala!
Translation: You wanted the bike? Now you’ve got to ride it!
This sarcastic Italian phrase is similar to the English expression “I told you so.” Use this phrase when your friend has a little too much vino and wakes up with a killer hangover.
2. Braccia rubate all’agricoltura
Translation: Arms stolen from agricultural work
This funny Italian phrase refers to someone who’s studying or doing some type of intellectual work, but doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. In other words, this person is better suited for farm work. Ouch!
3. Non avere peli sulla lingua
Translation: Without hair on his tongue
Do you want your friend’s honest opinion? Then ask him or her to say it “without hair on his tongue.” Just be ready for the brutally honest truth!
4. Saltare di palo in frasca
Translation: To jump from a post to a pile of branches
This strange-sounding Italian phrase is similar to the English expression “going on a tangent.” Use this phrase when your friend is rambling on and on about something totally unrelated, and you just want them to shut up!
5. Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca
Translation: To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk
Similar to the English expression, “to have your cake and eat it to,” use this snarky remark when you want to give a friend a hard time!
6. Avere le braccine corte
Translation: To have short arms
Meaning to have short arms, this funny Italian phrase is used to describe someone as cheap. In other words, the person’s arms are too short to even reach for his or her wallet. This phrase comes in handy when your friend mysteriously “forgets” his or her wallet and leaves you to pick up the check.
7. In bocca al lupo
Translation: Into the wolf’s mouth
Another strange sounding phrase, this Italian expression means “good luck” or the English equivalent of “break a leg.”
8. Essere al verde
Translation: To be on the green
Are you broke as a joke? Use this useful Italian phrase when you have to reluctantly call mom or dad and ask for some money. At least they will be happy you’re learning Italian!
9. Fare le corna a qualcuno
Translation: To have the horns put on you
A popular saying in Italy, this expression means that your girlfriend is cheating on you. Sorry guys!
10. Tirare il pacco
Translation: To throw the package
The English equivalent of the expression ” to stand someone up,” this funny Italian phrase means that your friend or date never showed up to meet you.
If you want to sound like a native Italian, practice these common Italian expressions with your English-speaking friends. If nothing else, you’re sure to have a laugh!
Photo by Asim Bharwani